Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just how rubbish is the search function on blogger blogs?

Ever noticed how rubbish the search function is on blogger (blogspot) blogs?  I am writing my SBL paper about "the politics of the bibliobloggers" in response to James Crossley's Jesus in an Age of Terror and I have been going back and reading lots of interesting old posts on different blogs.  Often, when those blogs are hosted on blogger, I use the search box at the top of the page.  Time after time, it fails to find the key posts.  A case in point: James Crossley discusses Jim Davila on Gabriel Barkai (Jesus in an Age of Terror, 43);  I go to Paleojudaica to get the relevant posts but a search on "Barkai" brings up nothing.  I then go to google and search "Paleojudaica Gabriel Barkai" and all the relenvant posts come up.  Given that blogger is affiliated with Google, I wonder why the blogger searches are so completely rubbish?

12 comments:

Rod said...

Because wordpress is so much better, that's why.

Ari said...

Indeed I have noticed it. It is worse when not all pages are indexed by google.

I have noticed changes to the platform such as no longer having the ability to click to edit a post from the post page, or change settings from the blog page such as html, images, etc. You need to go through dashboard for every little change. (Unless I recently changed something and had no idea about it???)

Jonathan Robinson said...

Interesting, i always considered that to be blogger's strength, whereas searching wordpress blogs is a very frustrating experience. also i can still edit any element of my blog from the blog as long as i am signed in. so i think the problem must be with you guys, sorry :-)

Rach said...

I totally agree with you. You paper sounds interesting. When is it out? I was once 23rd Biblioblogger and it was all a bit exciting for a while...

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Rach. What was your blog? I am writing my paper for the SBL in Atlanta at the end of this week. I'll probably blog it too, perhaps after the conference -- haven't decided yet.

Mark Goodacre said...

Jonathan -- I am thinking of the little search box you see on the top left of blogger blogs. Try searching stuff via that box -- it's rubbish.

Stephen C. Carlson said...

When I was on Blogger, the search box never worked for me, but it could have been because I was FTP-hosted.

James F. McGrath said...

I feel exactly the same way as you do Mark about the search feature. I've wondered whether perhaps the Blogger search feature only searches for tags rather than searching the posts for the words you type in. But whatever the cause, I've found the same thing as you to be true.

Rich Griese said...

Hello Mark Goodacre,

Regarding your post; Just how rubbish is the search function on blogger blogs? I thought I would give you a suggestion. First off, not everyone with a blogspot blog has the search form in their sidebar. so the first question becomes, what do you do when you want to search a blogspot blog that doesn't have that. Second, I am not sure if the search form works with the same feature I will describe for you. I kind of remember (if I didn't dream it), that the form, and the URL based search work differently. So... you might try this URL based method, even on blogspot blogs that DO have the search form, in case they are actually different search mechanisms. I have found the URL based method to work the best for me, to the point that even if there is a search form on a blogspot blog, I ignore it and use the URL method instead.

Here is a basic syntax tutorial;

Let's start with one word; Polycarp.

I can search Stephan Huller's blog (example) for occurrences of Polycarp like this;

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com/search?q=Polycarp

The general syntax is BLOG/search?q=something

The q stands for "query" not "quelle". (NT humor)

The q term has a syntax of it's own. In comp sci we call it a "parameter". The "search" portion of the URL tells the server to run the search page, and the the ? says "all the things after this will be parameters that the search page will expect or allow". There could be more than one parameters to some URLs that work like this, like you could have a LOGIN URL handler and accept NAME and PASSWORD like this;

someserver.com/login?n=bobby&p=happy

Where there are multiple parameters available/expected they will be separated with the "&" character (but this is more information that you need to know for this specific question I am talking about)

If you want to search on a phrase, enclose the words in quotes like this;

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com/search?q="visualize the Marcionite paradigm"

If you want to search on a group of words (I believe ANDing them) you put + signs between the words, like this;

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com/search?q=clement+polycarp

And if you want to combine multiple term ANDing WITH phrases you would hand the PHRASE (in quotes) like one of the things between the plus signs like this;

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com/search?q=clement+polycarp+"visualize the Marcionite paradigm"

You see the difference between these two searches?

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com/search?q=clement+polycarp+"visualize the Marcionite paradigm"

and

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com/search?q=clement+polycarp+visualize+the+Marcionite+paradigm


In the first one the PHRASE "visualize the Marcionite paradigm" is handled like one item, making the search

A+B+C with C being the phrase "visualize the Marcionite paradigm"

In the second one the search would be doing this

A+B+C+D+E+F with C, D, E, & F being "visualize the Marcionite paradigm"

Hope that makes blogspot searching a bit less frustrating for you.

Cheers! RichGriese.NET

Jim Davila said...

Sorry about that, Mark. My Blogger search function died a year or two ago and they've done nothing with my requests for help. To search PaleoJudaica's archive I use Google advanced search, limiting to the site paleojudaica.blogspot.com. This works fine.

Mark Goodacre said...

Same with mine, Jim, but standard googling works well and I found what I wanted.

Geoff Hudson said...

May be one should look at this problem in reverse and ask just how rubbish is what one has written? If one wrote less but more meaningfully then someone else would have less difficulty in finding what one was looking for. Of course one's blog may not achieve the heights of a certain blogger's blog.